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New outreach program will target homeless youth

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SAN ANTONIO - The number of homeless youth in San Antonio is growing at an alarming rate.

Thrive youth center is a non-profit that helps connect homeless youth with services to empower them.

Now a newly proposed outreach will allow the center to help more young people.

For the past six years this unidentififed 22-year old has been in and out of domestic violence shelters in different cities.

He settled in San Antonio 8-months ago and has come a long way.

"I was able to learn basic necessities like learning how to mop, sweep and do laundry stuff like that because I had no idea how to do that stuff," he said. "I wasn't raised that way and didn't have any need to do it when I was homeless so."

It was progress made possible because of Thrive.

The youth center connects homeless youth with services to help them become independent, productive citizens.

Nationwide, 1.6 million youth are homeless 40-percent of them are members of the LGBTQ community; a community that's growing in Bexar County.

"It's a very under-served population, there's only a few shelters in the country that are specific to LGBTQ," said Sandra Whitley, Thrive Youth Center Founder and Executive Director.

The City of San Antonio wants to dedicate $85,000 to Thrive to create a new outreach program.

"That will canvas the street, under bridges, public libraries, using creative strategies to find the population of homeless youth and introduce them to services, convince them to seek services," said Human Services Director Melody Woosley.

"A lot of them it's their first opportunity they've had to get their lives together, so we really stress education," Whitley said.

Through Thrive young people have been able to get their ged, learn a trade, and secure permanent housing. Like this unidentified transgeder male did.

"Honestly thrive wouldn't be able to function we wouldn't be able to hire staff workers or pay for the things that make us operate that's what thrive operates off of what the city and donors give us," he said.

Leaders with Thrive hope to begin the new outreach program as soon as the city's new budget is adopted.

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